by Risa Green
I’m not usually one to complain about my husband; most of the time, he’s pretty thoughtful, and he does his fair share with the kids, and I know that deep down, all he wants is to make me happy. Which are nice qualities to have in a husband. But somehow, this Mother’s Day, my husband seemed to have misplaced those qualities.
Let me just say that I don’t expect a fancy, expensive gift from my husband on Mother’s Day. In the past, I’ve gotten a cute dress (that I promptly exchanged for a cuter one), a silver necklace with my kids’ names on it, a beautiful pedestal mirror for my vanity…things like that. Usually, I drop hints starting a few weeks before; an “ooh, look at that mirror” as we stroll by a shop window, a page ripped out of a catalogue and conspicuously left on the kitchen counter, a subtle hint about how I really need some new things for summer. Usually, he gets the hint, and whatever it was that I mentioned ends up in pretty wrapping paper on Mother’s Day morning, and I pretend to be amazed at how good he is at picking out just the thing that I wanted (except for the dress, which was not at all what I wanted, and hence the exchange). This year was no different. I told my daughter about a shirt I liked in a store window; I casually mentioned a few times how much I really need a zoom lens for my camera; I pulled a picture of a table-top fire pit out of the Frontgate catalogue and left it on his nightstand. Nothing fancy. Nothing super-expensive. It’s not like I asked for diamonds or anything.
The night before Mother’s Day we went out with some friends and got home late – almost midnight, in fact. As I was brushing my teeth, my husband reminded me that it was going to be Mother’s Day in just a few minutes, and asked if I wanted my present now. I told him sure. And I’ll be honest, I was kind of excited, because if he couldn’t even wait to give it to me until the morning, then I figured that it must have been a pretty good present. Maybe, I thought, he’d gotten me the ring I’d fallen in love with at the fundraising boutique for my daughter’s school. Or, maybe he’d gotten me the purse that I’ve been drooling over for two months but that I knew was too expensive for me to justify buying for myself.
I turned off the lights, got in bed and watched SNL as I waited for him to bring in the dog and get ready for bed. And then, finally, he went over to his nightstand and took something out, hid it behind his back, and then sat down next to me on the bed. Here you go, he said, handing it to me, a silly grin on his face. It was dark, so I couldn’t see it at first, but I knew immediately that it was too small to be a purse and too big too be a ring. And I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed. But, still hopeful, I flipped on the light to see what it was. And it was…a Godiva, 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar. I asked him if I should open it, thinking that perhaps he had hidden the ring inside of the wrapper. He asked if I was really still hungry after the huge dinner we’d just had. Hmmm, I thought. Okay then. I waited, patiently, for Part II of my Mother’s Day gift to be presented. And when no Part II was brought out, I finally asked if the chocolate bar was really was my entire Mother’s Day present, and my husband laughed nervously and said that really, there was nothing else.
The logic, he explained, went something like this: when I did that twenty day cleanse a few weeks ago, I was allowed to have a square of 70% cocoa dark chocolate every night. And since I had mentioned how much I enjoyed the 70% cocoa dark chocolate while I was on this cleanse, and since he had heard that Godiva – a quality chocolate maker if ever there was one – made a 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar, he bought one for me. For Mother’s Day. At which point I explained to him that that a chocolate bar pretty much sucks as a Mother’s Day present, and even worse, it was a diet chocolate bar. And he tried to make the argument that it’s a Godiva diet chocolate bar, and I counter-argued that this would be great if it were like, the extra little present that you tape onto the wrapping paper of the real present, but as the sole present for mothering your children, a chocolate bar - excuse me, a diet chocolate bar - does not exactly make the cut, Godiva or no Godiva.
He said that it’s thought that counts. And I told him that’s right, it is. And it was a very bad thought. But thank you, I said, because you did give me something that I needed. Eagerly, he asked what that might be, thinking that perhaps, by some stroke of impossibly good fortune, he’d been let off the hook. And I told him that actually, he gave me a topic to write about for my blog this week. And it’s called, “My Husband Goes Off to Work Each Day While I Devote My Entire Life To Our Children, and All I Got Was a Lousy Chocolate Bar.” So thanks, honey. Love ya’ to death. But next year, I think I’d prefer to come up with my own topic.